Archive for the ‘Friday Songs’ Category

Some Friday Songs

Friday, June 8th, 2018

When I sort the 72,000 tracks in the RealPlayer for “Friday,” the returns are not encouraging: I get twenty-two tracks. Two of them are set aside immediately: They’re performances of “Remedy” and “Willie McTell” by The Band during 1994 on the NBC show Friday Night Videos.

The other twenty tracks, however, provide an interesting mix, though I think we’ll pass by the theme from the television show Friday Night Lights by W.G. “Snuffy” Walden. So what we’ll do is sort the other nineteen tracks by their running time, set the cursor in the middle of the stack and find four tracks.

And we start with a churning, loping and somewhat dissonant boogie decorated by one of those odd lyrical excursions typical of Steely Dan: “Black Friday” from the 1975 album Katy Lied:

When Black Friday comes
I fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book

Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos

When Black Friday comes I’ll be on that hill
You know I will

I’m not an expert on Steely Dan, though I enjoy the group’s music almost any time I hear it and recognize the skill and talent on display. But the artistic visions of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen almost always leave me a little off-kilter, as if – to use an idea I think I’ve expressed at other times describing other artists – I’m suddenly living in a world of eighty-nine degree angles.

The first moments of the next track are oddly similar to “Black Friday,” but then the tune slides into the familiar jangly sound of “Friday On My Mind” by the Easybeats, a 1967 hit that peaked at No. 16 in the Billboard Hot 100. The tune has its own moments of dissonance as it tell the tale of a fellow enduring another week of work or school, looking for the weekend so he can get to the city and spend time with his gal: “She’s so pretty!”

So were the Easybeats a one-hit wonder? It depends on how you define the term. I’ve seen some chartheads define a one-hit wonder as a group that had only one record reach the Hot 100. I tend to think that’s a bit stringent, and use the qualifier of only one hit in the Top 40. Why discuss that here? Because the Easybeats had one other record in the Hot 100: a 1969 release titled “St. Louis” that spent one week at No. 100 and then dropped off the chart.

By my terms, then, the Easybeats – who hailed from Sydney, Australia – are definitely a one-hit wonder. Their hit is a record I’m not particularly fond of, but there it was at No. 16 during the spring of 1967.

Larry Jon Wilson, who died in 2010, was a Southern storyteller whose songs never seemed to hurry, even when they clipped right along. “Friday Night Fight At Al’s” fits into that style very well. I found it on an album titled Testifying: The Country Soul Revue, a 2004 sampler put out in the United Kingdom by the Casual Records label. (Among the other artists on the album were Tony Joe White, Bonnie Bramlett and Dan Penn.)

The track starts with Wilson’s laconic explanation that Al’s Beer Depot was a bar out near the bomb factory, a place where he went for a banquet one Friday when things went as they normally did at Al’s:

The Friday night fights at Al’s place: The situation was grim and I was forced to face
The extreme possibility of no one ever seein’ me alive again
When the night was over, chairs are busted, tables are flyin’
Get me out of here, Jesus, I’m afraid of dyin’
It’s the Friday night fights at Al’s place . . . We didn’t have no referee

Wilson’s body of work is a little thin: Four albums between 1975 and 1979, another in 2008, and a few other things here and there, two of which are included on Testifying. I like his stuff a lot.

Our fourth stop today brings us the Tulsa sound of the late J.J. Cale, a shuffling tune titled simply “Friday,” a track from a 1979 album titled, with equal simplicity, 5. I’ve loved Cale’s work since I came across his first album, Naturally, back in 1972, a year after it came out. There is a sameness to his work, yes, but it’s a comfortable sameness, if that makes any sense.

In any case, just lean back and listen to “Friday.”

‘Gotta Get Down On Friday . . .’

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Somehow here at the EITW studios, we have lapsed recently into a Wednesday/Friday/Saturday schedule instead of the preferred Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday package. And then a Friday like today makes its entrance, one of those days when I stumble to the kitchen at my normal hour of 7 a.m., feed the cats and then decide that more rest is necessary for the back muscles I evidently strained yesterday climbing up and down the kitchen stepstool and dusting shelves.

So I went back upstairs, told the Texas Gal as she rose that she would have to get by without me, and I went back to sleep. I did not think to tell her that the cats had been fed. She told me a few moments ago that as she collected their bowls and opened a can of “Cod, Sole & Shrimp Feast,” they gathered at her feet and, like hobbits, happily accepted second breakfast.

Obviously, I did not stay in bed all day. I have some things to do, but I shall do them slowly. Before I get to those things, though, I wanted to put something here, so I dug into my small assortment of Friday songs. And I came across something I found at YouTube three years ago, when Rebecca Black’s video of her recording “Friday” went viral and was vilified as perhaps the worst pop song ever. (It was bad, but “worst ever” is a difficult hurdle to slide under. I suppose we could begin taking nominations . . .)

Shortly after Black’s video went viral, a YouTube user named HeyMikeBauer uploaded a performance of the song and said in his notes, “The source of Rebecca Black’s hit single ‘Friday’ is revealed in this lost recording from Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes.”

So here’s Bob Dylan’s “Friday” (put together, obviously, by someone with a great sense of humor, a good deal of affection for Bob Dylan and a great Dylan imitation). Do yourself a favor: Click through to YouTube and read the comments; some folks get the joke (and expand on it), others don’t get it at all.